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Five String Fretless Violin Bass Build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Bassmanmike1, Mar 9, 2014.


  1. Bassmanmike1

    Bassmanmike1 Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    Cool, CA
    Disclosures:
    Sittin' In Limbo
    Greetings my TB brothers and sisters. Sharing my latest build with you. I built this for my friend Tim who I have known since 5th grade. He lives in Indiana and came out to California to visit me a couple years ago, and that's when the idea for this bass got started.

    The original idea was that he wanted a "Beatle Bass" but with five strings and fretless, and it just kind of took off from there and we ended up with a body shape much closer to a real violin than a Hofner

    The scale is 32". The pickups are SD soapbars. The tuners are Hipshot ultra lights. The bridge, tailpiece and jackplate I made from a nice piece of reclaimed ebony I scored off e-bay. It has stacked pots, volume on top, tone on bottom.

    The neck is purple heart and maple, and the body wings are basswood. It's neck through and chambered. It ended up weighing. 9 1/2 lbs.

    The original build thread is here https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.211054595685291.1073741830.119889761468442&type=3 on my face book page, but I know some of you don't do facebook so I will be posting a shortened build thread here over the next few days. Hope you like it.
     
  2. Bassmanmike1

    Bassmanmike1 Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    Cool, CA
    Disclosures:
    Sittin' In Limbo
    Started by gluing a neck, purple heart and maple.

    [​IMG]

    Next I assembled all the hardware. The bridge there is a four string Hofner replacement that I used to model the five string one I made.

    [​IMG]

    Tim wanted a scroll so I glued some more maple to the sides of the neck and added basswood for the scroll and spent the next two weeks carving it by hand.

    [​IMG]

    That's all I have time for right now. Will be adding more pics later.
     
    vmabus and moonshinegtrs like this.
  3. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered Panther Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
  4. HaphAsSard

    HaphAsSard

    Dec 1, 2013
    Italia
  5. Sponsored by:

  6. theNecatoR

    theNecatoR

    Jun 23, 2012
    Interesting, I am looking forward to see it finished!
     
  7. Bassmanmike1

    Bassmanmike1 Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    Cool, CA
    Disclosures:
    Sittin' In Limbo
    Well just got back and I see I have some subscribers so I better get busy. Thanks guys!


    The next thing I did was drill for the tuners and give them a test fitting.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Then I routed for the truss rod and gave that a test fitting as well
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
    vmabus likes this.
  8. Bassmanmike1

    Bassmanmike1 Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    Cool, CA
    Disclosures:
    Sittin' In Limbo
    Next up was gluing the fretboard on and getting the fret lines in.
    [​IMG]

    I ripped some mahogany on the band saw to make the "frets".
    [​IMG]

    Here are my mahogany frets.
    [​IMG]

    Here I'm opening up the slot to insert the mahogany.
    [​IMG]

    I tape it off and glue it up.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Then I tap the piece of mahogany in clean up the edges and sand it flush.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][/IMG]

    All fret lines in.
    [​IMG]

    More to come.
     
    vmabus likes this.
  9. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Wow. It never ceases to amaze me, the kinds of skills that you artisans & builders have!

    Nearly all my skills are "soft" skills, i.e. philosophy, languages, writing, music, etc. I come here to TalkBass to find common ground with like-minded creative souls. But I have almost no mechanical aptitude at all.

    If I had to build something with my hands? Especially something as complex and sophisticated as a high-quality musical instrument? From scratch? Fuggedaboutit! I'd be fortunate just to get through the experience with all my fingers and both hands still intact.

    Amazing... :eek:

    MM
     
  10. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Disclosures:
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    This looks like its going to be a great build. I will be watching this one closely.
     
  11. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered Panther Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    Looks good. I've become partial to unlined fretless fingerboards, but that's just a personal preference.

    Are those Duncans active or passive? If they're the passive SSBs, I'm interested in how they perform here, as I have a pair that may find their way into a chambered fretless of my own soon...
     
  12. Splods

    Splods

    Oct 7, 2012
    Adelaide, SA
    Looking great, The closeness of the machine heads has m slightly worried. It'll probably end up working fine though.
     
  13. Stealth

    Stealth Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Subscribed. This looks brilliant already.
     
  14. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    Wow! Sub'd! Looking forward to more pics!
     
  15. Fat Steve

    Fat Steve The poodle bites, the poodle chews it.

    Feb 4, 2013
    Ventura County
  16. Bassmanmike1

    Bassmanmike1 Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    Cool, CA
    Disclosures:
    Sittin' In Limbo
    Thanks. The duncans are passive. I put tapewound strings on the bass and it has a very full sound with a lot of thump.
     
  17. Bassmanmike1

    Bassmanmike1 Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    Cool, CA
    Disclosures:
    Sittin' In Limbo
    Ok here's tonight's pics,

    The next thing I did was cut out a Star Of Bethlehem from a mother of pearl blank, then I inlaid it at the octave.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Then the side dots went in.
    [​IMG]

    More pics later.
     
    vmabus likes this.
  18. Bassmanmike1

    Bassmanmike1 Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    Cool, CA
    Disclosures:
    Sittin' In Limbo
    Here's the next batch.

    After completing the neck I cut out the body wings and glued them on. After that I chambered the body.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Then I took my router and opened up in front were the f-holes will be and then I totally opened up the back.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    That's all for tonight. More tomorrow.
     
    vmabus likes this.
  19. Splods

    Splods

    Oct 7, 2012
    Adelaide, SA
    Very impressive.
     
  20. G

    G

    Apr 12, 2000
    MI
  21. You've got skills my friend!